July 28, 2015

6 Things That Make Your Follow-Up Stand Out and More Memorable

follow up tips

We all go to in person networking events and engage online and meet people who we think are interesting and could be great colleagues, clients or referrals. We also work with people on projects, tasks and events on a daily basis. Not to mention those in career transition, changing jobs and trying to find new jobs.

There’s a lot of content and conversations to manage and especially follow-up with today. We juggle multiple communications in our life activities both on and offline, which require us to follow-up. Sadly, I find most people don’t.

We are lost in and bombarded with millions of images, messages and impressions relentlessly coming at us at lightning speed. It’s so easy to fall through the email, social and Web cracks. But that should NOT be an excuse or an out for not improving our follow-up as a core relationship building tool and professionalism quality.

Email, text and social media have become a primary way we communicate in real time. As much as this is our norm, it is has changed the way we follow-up and is creating somewhat of a “lost art of follow up.”

The blending of direct follow-up via phone and the online world gives us so many options and opportunities to touch people. Follow-up is the most important activity you engage in after meeting new people, working with people, job searching and in your day to day communications.

No matter what you do or what profession you are in, the benefits of timely, personable and strategic follow up are many:

  • It is essential for leveraging your networking in person and online.
  • Its the keystone to relationship building and retention.
  • It opens the door for earning referrals, meetings, interviews.
  • It builds your authority and your professionalism in your niche.

Following up with people in a thoughtful and strategic way should be the standard that defines your professional style, as well as the professional style of others in your network.

Follow-Up Tips to Make it More Memorable

1. Practice Timeliness

Answer and follow-up with people as soon as you can with your thank you, introduction, information or any request or needs they may have. Unless it’s clearly spam, I try to answer as many people as possible that take the time to contact me.

2. Knowledge is a Powerful Tool

Taking time to research a company or person so that you know what they do and a little bit about them is very smart and strategic for opening conversations.

3. Show a Willingness to Engage

Be willing to engage, so that you exchange knowledge and forge a strong mutual connection as a starting point. Using all the social and online tools and tactics today gives you multiple touch points. Use them.

4. Be Unexpected

Delivering good, or great follow-up and service today is considered sub par. We expect nothing short of exceptional, as the bar is high and competition is fierce.

But, figuring out what your unexpected is can really change perception. Think about little things that are common sense and humane that can have a big impact such as spending more time, thoughtfulness, providing an endorsement or introduction or helping someone when you see they need help because it’s the right thing to do.

5. Make Gratitude and Kindness Your Center

Forging relationships based on the shared values of gratitude and kindness give them the best chance of growing and evolving long term.

6. Be Patient and Persistent and Know When to Move On

Don’t give up on people too easily that you have a relationship with or feel a potential with. We are all so time challenged. Be strategic and persistent and respect people’s time, but know when it’s time to step away and move on. Not everyone is in it to make it happen. Keeping in touch is a lot easier than it’s ever been.

Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. Never fail to follow-up. It’s a definer.

What do you do to stand out and be more memorable in your follow-up?


Deborah Shane

Deborah Shane Deborah Shane is a past staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. She is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly. Her book #trusthewhy Fundamentals, Values and Humor Get You Through Anything and award winning "Career Transition: Make the Shift" (2011) are available through all major book sellers.

12 Reactions

  1. Great article but I think you left out #7 — providing valuable information. No matter what you do, you are an expert in your field. By providing valuable information to prospects or just acquaintances, you not only establish your authority as an expert but you develop a certain level of trust. Try it. It works!

    • Exactly what I was thinking. If every follow-up provides additional benefit, the prospect will assign more and more value to the relationship with each interaction. Great point!

      • Hi Robert, follow up is a conversation and can provide different kinds of benefit. Sometimes a supportive, motivational comment is perfect, instead of a biz tip.

    • Hi Steve, all that “valuable information” is in 2 and 3. I also think that acknowledging what others create and deliver is a very powerful way to establish trust. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Great reminders, Deborah.

    We’re all so busy…or are we?

    If I don’t follow-up with someone after an event (when the excitement of the event wears off) I don’t feel very professional.

    That’s because professionals follow-up.

    The Franchise King®

    • Thanks Joel. That’s the timeliness part. While it’s fresh it has a different impact. I agree with after a conference, but also posting. People post and then disappear and move onto something else if there’s no engagement.

    • Thank you, Deborah, for this wonderful newsletter. I’m a new subscriber and very appreciative for the content.
      Joel, I totally agree with you that it is really only professional to follow up but, as Deborah indicates, it is somewhat of a lost art and we all need to be reminded of the importance of valuable followup.
      My favorite tip is #5: Make Gratitude and Kindness your center. What a powerful reminder in this competitive world of ours.
      If you think about your most meaningful business relationships, I’m sure kindness and mutual respect are the building blocks.

      • Patricia, thank you for your support and comments. I’m never surprised in how kindness, gratitude and thoughtfulness impact business relationships and success. We remember how people make us feel. Indeed they are they building blocks.

  3. Our website routinely sends out ‘abandoned cart emails’ and we’ve recently rewritten them to be much more personable and friendly.

    I think people as a whole are over the whole automated form of communication. We’ve also recently switched over to ZenDesk for customer support (another form of follow-up right?) and the feedback has been amazing :)

    • Adam, being more personable with comments and reply’s and trying to be less automated are great approaches. “Feedback has been amazing”-can’t get better than that. Hope it translates into the results you are striving for. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Any examples of good unexpected follow ups? The only thing I can think of is using something that we spoke about earlier in the event.

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